Dental implants are becoming more common. This is the only way to replace a lost tooth that preserves the natural state of the jaw bone. However, a number of patients have complications. They are usually associated with the growth of bacteria on the surface of the implant and subsequent damage to the gums. American scientists have proposed an innovative solution to this problem.
- To prevent gingivitis and periodontitis, you should:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss between teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly for prophylaxis.
- Show your dentist how you care for your teeth and ask if it can be done better.
- If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop.
- Use a mouthwash.
- Know your risks. Age, smoking, heredity increase them.
Sources – American Dental Association and American Periodontal Association
The implant, which the scientists have made, includes an artificial dental crown that looks like a natural one. Inside it contains a steel bar with a battery and LEDs for near infrared cure. The diodes are located near the base of the crown, which is in contact with the gum. In the jaw, the structure is fastened with a special screw.
The crown contains nanoparticles of barium titanate, which is capable of generating an electric charge in response to mechanical irritation. The electricity generated by the chewing should be sufficient to power the battery.
The diodes of the implant are periodically switched on in order to influence the surrounding tissue with radiation. (Previously, this kind of radiation – phototherapy – was used to relieve inflammation of the gums and to heal them after infections.)
In laboratory experiments, scientists have shown that the electrical charge of barium titanate repels the bacteria Streptococcus mutans. This is thought to prevent the formation of bacterial biofilms on teeth, which increase the risk of gum infections.
Scientists have conducted a number of experiments with crowns containing barium titanate. They consistently generated the required amount of electricity, were not toxic, and were comparable in strength to conventional crowns.
Today, this invention is not yet available on the market, but scientists expect that, once refined, it can be used in practice.